This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Perfect Wines to Enjoy on the Patio


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s podcast; Perfect Patio Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/07/01/wine-guy-mike-for-july-1/

Last Week’s(full length conversation) with Maximilian Riedel, CEO Riedel Crystal of America http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/24/wine-guy-mike-for-june-24/

Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

The weather has finally turned, the days are getting hot and the mountains remain emerald green from the spring’s plentiful rainfall.  A refreshing wine to suit everyone’s palate is welcome on a warm summer’s night.  Wine is seasonal and personal, dictated by your individual taste. 

This week I have a diverse selection of wines to share that will please even the most discriminating palate.  Not only do these wines offer great value in quality but they are budget minded too.  You will find the WineGuyMike recommendations at Liquid Planet located in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

The wine selections from today’s show are available today, all especially priced from 7/1 until 7/6, at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

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This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Special Father's and Special Wines


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and U 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Father’s Day podcast, Special Father’s and Special Wines http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/06/17/wine-guy-mike-for-june-17/

Recent Podcast with John Balletto of Balletto Vineyards & Winery http://bit.ly/WineGuyMike2

Recent Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Today is Father’s Day and I thought it would be a great opportunity to pay homage to some of the men who are or were father’s, whom I have really respected and loved, and have made such an impression that they have impacted my life.  

President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day in 1966.  It was six years later, in 1972, when President Nixon made the day a permanent national holiday by signing it into law.

I thought it would be fun to share a little of my life with you, of course let us not forget this show is all about wine.  I put a great deal of thought into these men who have been important to me and thought about what wines that I have enjoyed recently that reminded me of these special men on Father’s Day.

First I’ll talk about my dad, his name is Frederick.  My dad grew up in a very poor family in Upstate New York, which is also where I grew up.  My Dad’s life growing up was not easy, he is a survivor who has had to scrap for everything in life, but my dad was a dreamer.  My dad went after his dreams and fought as hard as he could to live and achieve all that he could dream.  For my Dad I raise my glass and toast him with a great Syrah from Walla Walla in Washington State from Reynvann Vineyards.  For this toast I chose their Syrah “The Contender”, they make three great Syrah’s but this one that I think is one of the finest varietal examples seemed appropriate for my Dad.

My Father-in-law, Paul Wright who was one of the toughest men I have known, and not due to his physical strength.  He was tough enough to be a great man. Paul a recipient of the Purple Heart from the Korean War was hospitalized for nearly one year having been shot in the war, but he survived.  Paul was a Nuclear Engineer, the father of five children, foster father to over 2,000 children who needed emergency short term(Ha Ha) care.  These kids were raised alongside his own children wearing the same clothing, taking the same music lessons, and playing the same sports.  My Father-in-law just lost a long and hard fought battle to Pancreatic Cancer, he seemed to even beat that though, he lived nearly two years after diagnosis.  I raise a glass of Pinot Noir from Balletto Vineyards and Winery in the Russian River Valley.  This is a great Pinot Noir that expresses true and real terroir at the hands of winemaker Anthony Beckman, that is what my father-in-law was true, real, and an example of something to model oneself after.

My Grandfather on my mother’s side, Alfred Gates, was a survivor of World War II.  He spent his time in the war on destroyer escorts, the support team for the big battleships.  His boat survived the war and all the unbelievable storms at sea.  This man taught me self respect, how to treat others, how to be a leader of a family.  Al was loved by everyone who ever met him, and he enjoyed everyone he met.  He is a person I miss a lot and think about from time to time even though he has been gone for over thirty years.  I’m grateful for this man who always had a twinkle in his eye, for him I toast him with no other than a great sparkling wine, Gruet Brut Rose.

Last but not least by any means, my Grandfather Tornatore from Sicily.  My Grandfather came to this country with nothing through Ellis Island in New York.  He eventually settled in a tiny place in Upstate New York named Mexico, New York.  This man was a bull of a man, as wide as he was short, he was a pheasant who worked in a steel foundry and raised everything on his land to feed his family.  I am forever grateful to this man for instilling my love and passion of wine, my grandfather also loved wine.  As powerful a man as he was, his hand for the vine was gentle.  He was a master of grafting fruit trees and grapevines, I followed him and learned a love of the land, a love of the vine, and he instilled his amazing passion for the wine to me.  For this I’m eternally grateful, to him I raise a glass of Boroli Quattro Fratelli

The wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

These wonderful Father’s Day wine selections are available today at Liquid Planet, in the heart of Downtown Missoula, Missoula’s ultimate wine shopping experience and the very best of beverage.

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Biodynamic Grape Farming


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; Biodynamic grape farming; http://www.trail1033.com/Podcasts/Podcast-Wine-Guy-Mike-for-April-29-441372

Last week’s podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Green farming is a part of the “Green” movement we hear about every day.  The word “Green” is the politically correct buzzword that is attached it seems to every advertising and marketing campaign initiative in the world today.

When green farming is utilized in the viticulture and winemaking process there are real consumer benefits.  It is important as wine consumers to understand a little bit about all of this.

There are three levels of green farming; Certified Sustainable, Certified Organic, and Certified Biodynamic.  My focus of this article is Biodynamic Farming but first let’s understand all three green farming methods.

Certified Sustainable – This farming method employs farming techniques that are environmentally sound.  Biodiversity, soil revitalization and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) are all techniques that are a part of this farming method.  This viticulture program results in the cultivation of grapes with better varietal character of flavors and aromas.  For the consumer this means more distinct wine products.

Certified Organic – This method of farming combines the Certified Sustainable practices with the organic grape growing techniques. Organic Farming permits no use of synthetic chemicals and uses natural methods of farming such as crop rotation, tillage and natural composting to maintain and promote healthy soil.  Natural techniques to control weeds, insects and other pest management are implemented.  Grape growers who utilize these farming methods can see the results in their vineyards and are inspired to continue their natural progression of green farming.

Certified Biodynamic – This method of farming developed as a result of instincts shared by philosopher Rudolf Steiner in 1924.  Biodynamic farming is the culmination of sustainable and organic farming methods and the incorporation of these harmonious philosophy developed by Steiner that he referred to as “Anthrophosophy” which in this case views a vineyard as a single organism.  Biodynamic farming incorporates biodiversity, independent nutrient system, homeopathic preparations, and a true spiritual connection with the land.  This farming method utilizes sheep to control weeds, cattle for manure and compost, chickens for pest control, and the instinct and intuitive trust of the viticulturist working with the land and vineyards in a harmonious way.

Biodynamic farming has the capability to combine with terroir, or sense of place, to produce individual grapes of distinct varietal character with robust flavor and aroma.  This is true value for the consumer, wines that are naturally healthy with enhanced flavors and aromas.

Biodynamic farming is an overall concept that is simple in theory, more difficult to implement.  Let’s use an analogy of the human race and Biodynamic farming to better understand this concept.  Every person is a unique individual who grows and develops and comes to a better understanding of who they are throughout the process.  Through this process of evolution, growth, and understanding we become better at accepting who we are as a person.  There is an understanding that allows an individual to work with their unique characteristics.  A person in concept becomes whole and healthy spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

Each wine region, area, vineyard, and vineyard block is unique unto itself in all respects.  Biodynamic farming respects and understands this and approaches it as such.

There are some very interesting aspects of Biodynamic farming such as planting on the new moon and bottling wine on the waning moon and generally recognizing seasonal changes and effects.  Horns from cattle are collected and stuffed with manure and buried.  They are dug up in spring and the manure has been transformed into a rich hummus that is combined with water as a rich tincture treatment for the soil.  This promotes healthy soil and root systems.  Over summer months cow’s horns are packed with quartz and silica crystals and then buried.  They are then dug up in the fall and combined with water making a tincture that is used on the grape leaves aiding in photosynthesis and naturally enhancing the flavor of the grapes.

Plants are also used in the Biodynamic farming process; Fermented Yarrow is used to help breakdown compost, fermented Chamomile aides the composting process and also nourishes the soil and stabilizes the nitrogen within the soil, Stinging Nettle, Oak Bark, Dandelion, and Valerion aid composting and enrich the nutrients in soil, Horsetail Plant is made into tea and sprayed on vines to prevent fungal disease. 

Conventional agricultural thinking views itself as a commodity while Biodynamic farming is focused on developing individuality.  The concept of Biodynamic farming is a perfect fit for the grape farming sector of agriculture.  The Biodynamic farming method has taken hold in the wine world as it is truly one area of agriculture that desires premium quality.  Throughout history there are special places in the world that produce wine of distinct character just as there are unique individuals who can discern these characteristics while blind tasting wines.  Few agricultural sectors in the world can match the ability of a unique vineyard for complete harmony of land, people, animals, plants, and environment.  This is Biodynamic farming and as farmers embrace ecology, sustainability, and energy this concept of farming will become prevalent.

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Justin Wylie of Va Piano Vineyards


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast with Justin Wylie and Va Piano Vineyards; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/04/22/wine-guy-mike-for-april-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment on Easter wines and food pairing; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30847522/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Walla Walla in Washington State is located in one of the world’s premier grape growing and wine producing areas of the world; this is also home to Justin Wylie owner and winemaker of Va Piano Vineyards.

Walla Walla is one of 11 different AVA’s within the great Columbia Valley AVA which was established in 1984.  This area was first settled by Italian immigrants in the 1850’s but in 1984 became an officially recognized AVA.

The farming community of Walla Walla has been transformed from an agriculture area that produced some of the best onions and wheat in the world to a special place that will be recognized as one of the significant wine producing areas of the world. 

There are now over 125 wineries in the Walla Walla area.  One of those wineries is Va Piano Vineyards.  This week on the WineGuyMike show owner and winemaker Justin Wylie took timeout to join me for a conversation and a tasting of the Va Piano wines.

Justin Wylie graduated from Gonzaga University but it was during his senior year in 1995 that he had a life changing experience.  The fourth generation Walla Wallan and spent the year in Florence, Italy studying humanities under the tutelage of Italian native, Bruno Segatta.

The plan for Wylie was to return to Walla Walla and join the family’s stone monument business, but something happened along the way.  As many have he fell in love with the culture and lifestyle of Italy, he was inspired to do something different.  Italians understand that great wines are made in the vineyard and the winemaker is the caretaker of the grapes once they have been harvested.  This became Wylie’s passion.

Father Bruno Segatta not only was a teacher he became a mentor for Wylie and inspired him to believe in himself and his dreams.  Chi va piano va sano y va lontano is a bit of wisdom that Segatta shared with Wylie: He who goes slowly goes safely and goes far.  This was imprinted within the heart of Wylie.

La Famiglia is the soul of Italy and was also very important to Wylie who is married with three children.  Wylie’s wife Liz is business partner and critical to the operations at Va Piano.  La Famiglia is everything at the vineyard, when you visit you are a part of the Va Piano family.  The wonderful theme of community transcends all of the Walla Walla wine collaborative with an attitude of; “One for all, and all for one”.

When you visit the Va Piano Vineyards property you have a sense of Old World charm as Liz and Justin have worked very hard to create an atmosphere of Italy.  Together they have built an Italian style home and winery with heart and soul, this is a winery you don’t want to miss when you visit Walla Walla.

Wylie spent five years in his garage making test lots, and a cult following formed around the Vino del Garage wines.  In order to hone his skills as a viticulturist and winemaker he traveled back and forth to UC Davis taking countless classes in the renowned department of viticulture and enology.

 His philosophy as a winemaker is rooted in the word balance: balance in the vineyard, balance in the wines, and balance in our lives. His goal is to showcase the wines with a sense of place and respect for the fruit, and always remember to be a grower first and winemaker second. 

Father Bruno still has a significant place in the Wylie families lives.  Segatta who is not only a humanitarian and scholar is also a gifted artist who is quite well known.  Va Piano’s tasting room is filled with his original oil paintings depicting iconic Florence architecture and Tuscan landscapes.  Justin and Liz created Bruno’s Blend, a multi-vintage red blend and white blend in his honor. A different original Bruno painting is used to create the label each vintage, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to a charity of Bruno’s choice.

With over 125 wineries in Walla Walla and a little less than 2000 acres devoted to vineyards, the predominant varietals grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Sangiovese also grows very well in Walla Walla which is one reason why the Italians chose to settle this area.  There are a multitude of other red and white varietals being grown and developed in the area too.

The soil in this region is the result of layers of alluvial soil from the Lake Missoula floods and volcanic eruptions.  The Missoula Floods were a series of perhaps 35-40 geologic cataclysms that swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia Gorge at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.  These massive floods were a result of ruptures in the glacial ice dam that created Montana’s Glacial Lake Missoula.  The flood level reached 1200 feet at its greatest depth which resulted in layers of soil and deposits from volcanic eruptions.  This left behind a layer of bedrock that facilitates an incredible terrior that imparts itself into the grapes grown in this unique hamlet of the wine world.

Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano; He who goes slowly, goes safely and goes far. This old Italian saying sums up Va Piano Vineyards approach to winemaking, and to life.  Wylie’s winemaking philosophy; grow the best grapes we can and don’t screw it up in the cellar. Va Piano wines display intense flavors, fine tannin structure and intense aromas.

Va Piano’s 20-acre estate property, located in the Southeast corner of the Walla Walla Valley, has been producing grapes since 1999.  Seventy percent of our grape production is used by our winery and the balance is sold to premium Walla Walla Valley wineries such as L’Ecole #41, Saviah Cellars and Dunham Cellars.

In December of 2005, Va Piano celebrated their grand opening by releasing their first vintages, a 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Syrah which have been given outstanding reviews.

Wylie also sources grapes from a number of other vineyards in the region so that every Va Piano wine has the flavor profile he strives for in each of his wines.  Justin and I tasted three of his Va Piano Vineyards wines; the 2009 Brunos Blend, The 2008 Syrah, and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

As Old World tradition would have it all three of the Va Piano wines will be an exceptional complement to a correctly paired meal.  Bruno’s Blend is very forgiving and will pair with a wide array on meals as this was the lightest bodied of the three wines I tasted with Wylie.  The Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah were both varietally correct and very enjoyable to taste.  All three wines have very good balance of fruit and acidity, very nice structure.  Wylie has really struck a nice balance between the Old World and New World with these wines, I look forward to watching him grow as a winemaker.  He has talent and potential as a winemaker, two things that I love.

The Tasting Flight

2009 Brunos Blend

Nose – fruit, earth, smoke

Palate – easy, silky tannin, fruit to acid is great

Finish – nice finish to complement food and not get in the way of it

2008 Syrah

Nose – red fruits, raspberry and boysenberry, clean minerality

Palate – nice fruit and acidity, gaminess, and spice

Finish – lingering spice and fruit, delicious

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

Nose – black cherry, underlying berry, chocolate, spice

Palate – just right tannin, restrained fruit, very slight sweet vanilla

Finish – long, smooth, luscious

The Va Piano Vineyards wines reviewed today all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval™

You can listen to the show live on the Trail 103.3FM or U 104.5FM.  These shows are podcast for your convenience and available on my blog at; www.WineGuyMike.wordpress.com

From my table to yours,

"from my table to yours"

This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© Chenin Blanc and Fondue for You


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcasthttp://trail1033.podbean.com/2012/01/22/wine-guy-mike-for-january-22/

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©. 

The Loire Valley is well known not only for its wines but it also is the summer playground of the rich, famous and royalty.  The countryside of the Loire Valley is embellished with elegant and enormous chateaux.

While the Loire Valley is the largest white wine producing region in France, it is also the second largest producer of sparkling wine in France.  But what the region is truly famous for is Chenin Blanc.

This wine whether you prefer an Old World or New World style of Chenin Blanc made in a dry style pairs very well with my favorite dinner this winter, Cheese Fondue.  The blend of cheeses in this delectable winter comfort food is a staple for the Swiss.  The wines that I’m recommending today are perfect partners with the Cheese Fondue recipe I’m also sharing with you, (see this recipe at the end of today’s blog post).      

Chenin Blanc is such a very versatile grape that it can produced as a standalone varietal or as a blending grape, typically with Chardonnay.  It is dry, very crisp, acidic, high in alcohol content, yet is smooth and a full bodied white wine.  Chenin Blanc wines are intense, aromatic, and floral on the nose.  On the palate this grape will deliver a wide spectrum of flavors and textures.  One’s palate may experience everything from slight citrus, grasses, spiciness, a little bit of honey, and lush tropical fruit. 

This grape is commonly referred to as the “chameleon”, it is diverse and can be made in many styles.  In the Loire Valley of France Chenin Blanc is known as Vouvray, it is the best example of French Chenin Blanc. 

In the Old World Chenin Blanc is frequently used as a blending grape with Chardonnay.   These two grape varietals are wonderful companions in a wine and I’ll be sharing one of these with you today.  In the New World Chenin Blanc is typically produced as a single varietal wine.

Old World winemakers ferment their wines at higher temperatures and age their Chenin Blanc wines in acacia and chestnut barrels.   This Old World technique produces wines that are well rounded with a greater depth of desirable color.   New World winemakers will use steel tanks for fermenting and aging.   This technique preserves crispiness, acidity, and fruitiness that are terrific attributes of a well made Chenin Blanc wine.  New World style Chenin Blanc’s are typically lighter in color than its Old World counterparts.  Color varies with style and approach in making wine, wood barrels vs. steel tanks produce different results.

The versatility of Chenin Blanc allows winemakers the flexibility to transform this chameleon of a grape into many different styles ranging from dry to sweet, or as a sparkling wine.  This wine is often described as having a taste profile driven by minerality, greengage, angelica, and honey.  The dry or semi-sweet styles exhibit flavors of chalky minerality, honey, quince, and acacia. 

Vouvray from the Loire Valley is offered in three different styles; dry which is known as (Sec), medium-dry or (Demi-Sec), sweet (Moelleux, m wah leuh), or as a sparkling wine.  Winemakers of the New World are striving for a dry wine that both intense and floral.  A well made Chenin Blanc wine is delightful on the nose, notes of floral aroma and scent of banana, pear, guava, and pineapple. This wine is crisp, acidic, and tropical with a little nuance of spice on the palate.  Paired correctly with food this wine is beautiful and can bring out the very best in the food.

Each year weather is a determining factor in the type of wine that is produced in Vouvray.  Cool years produce vintages of dry or sparkling wines, while warm years produce sweet wines such as Moelleux, (m wah leuh).  Because wines of Vouvray are naturally high in acid they may be aged in some cases up to 100 years.

The soil in Vouvray consists of calcareous clay, producing Chenin Blanc wines that are rounded and balanced, delivering nice body, fruit, and acid.  Almost all vineyards in the Loire Valley are planted on sloped plateau with southern exposure.  Streams run through the area and this combination offer ideal growing conditions.  Old World winemaking technique truly compliment the terroir of this region, the wines are stunning.

Marc Bredif Vouvray 2008 from the Loire Valley, France ($21.99)

This is one of the finest examples of Vouvray I have ever tasted.  Visually this wine is sintilating in the glass, presenting a geourgeous pale gold yellow. On the nose this wine is intense with floral and fruit driven scent.  Marc Bredif Vouvray is perfectly deceptive on the entry and then reveals itself as lush and full on the mid-palate.  Crisp, lush, yet a slight citrusy tart quality that shows a little citrus and a perfect grassiness that while this wine is big on flavor it is beautifully dry.  Next you experience wonderful fruit led by exquisite pineapple with layers of other subtle yet a wonderful supporting cast of tropical fruits.  color is pale gold yellow.  It has a very intense and fruity nose with notes of white flowers and quince.  It has a subtle attack on the palette and a fresh structure and aromatic finish.

Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay, a unique recipe 75% Chenin 25% Chardonnay ($9.99)

This wine from the Southwestern Languedoc Rousillon region is a lovely wine and at this price you can’t go wrong.  It’s crisp, it’s creamy, yes a treasure of a wine.

The contrast between the Chenin Blanc minerality and the creamy Chardonnay is somewhat reminiscent of sweet and sour cooking.  Refreshing, bold and full of flavor on the entry with underlying notes of crisp ripe grapes, followed by a satisfying finish.  Faint floral shades of vanilla and toffee take turns revealing their delights, while a touch of saltiness leads to a pleasant lingering finish.

L’Ecole N° 41  2010 Chenin Blanc – Columbia Valley ($10.99)

This second generation, family-owned artisan winery located in the historic Frenchtown School depicted on our label.   Founded in 1983, they are the third oldest winery in the Walla Walla Valley.  As a traditional brick and mortar winery they grow and make 100% of their wine.  The focus is on terroir-driven, distinctive, and expressive wines.  All of L’Ecole’s Walla Walla Valley wines are made from grapes which are certified sustainable.

This fresh, tart and delightfully fruity Chenin Blanc shows Asian pear, perfumed honeysuckle and orange blossom aromas with flavors of apple, apricot, and grapefruit on a crisp mineral, lightly sweet finish.

L’Ecole Nº 41 has produced this old vine, Vouvray style Chenin Blanc since 1987. Jean Ferguson, L’Ecole Nº 41’s founding winemaker, loved this wine and crafted her version of Vouvray through cold fermentation to enhance the fruity and floral esters.  This wine offers great value.

WineGuyMike’s™ Cheese Fondue Recipe

Preparation – Chop on Shallot finely, 1 loaf of crusty cubed bread, grated 2 cups of Gruyere cheese, grated 1 1/3 cup Emmenthal cheese, cube ½ cup of Brie cheese, have one real lemon and corn starch

  1. Combine one finely chopped Shallot
  2. Add 1 ¼  cup of Cristilino Extra Dry Cava(Sparkling wine)
    1. Combine and bring to a medium boil for 2 minutes, then turn off heat
    2. Add all cheeses and stir to combine, cheese will begin to melt
    3. In a bowl mix 4 tsp. of corn starch with 1 Tbls. Of real lemon juice
    4. Return mixture to a medium heat and stir for 10 minutes
    5. Mixture will melt and then begin to thicken.  At about the 8 minute mark add about 4-5 healthy shakes of nutmeg and about 4-5 generous shakes of white pepper
    6. Continue to stir and combine all ingredients, once mixture thickens reduce heat to a consistent medium-low heat  

Grab your fondue fork and poke a piece of cubed bread, dunk it in the Cheese Fondue.  Choose one of the wines I have recommended today and enjoy a perfect mid-winters meal. 

Cheers from WineGuyMike™

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

What’s Your Wine Style? This Week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MST.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast;  will be posted as soon as it is available, thank you.

NBC Montana Today TV Segment with Christmas wines; http://www.nbcmontana.com/video/30063511/index.html

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Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at www.CiaoMambo.com

Sleep City Missoula  www.SleepCity.com

Liquid Planet “Best of Beverage” and a great place to find your holiday wine located in the heart of downtown Missoula.

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

Good Sunday morning and welcome to the WineGuyMike Radio Show.  It’s 2012 and I’m ready to rock this year’s vintage with you.  Together we are going to take a new approach and a new look at great wines that I can’t wait to share with you.

Pick up your empty glass and hold it up to the sky as you look out the window.  Imagine the beautiful color of your favorite wine adorning the glass, bend your elbow and pull the glass close and tip your nose deep into the glass.  Breathe deeply and imagine the wildest exotic aromas of your favorite wine rising from the juice in your glass.  Lower the glass to your lips, tilt your head gently back and take an imaginary sip of the finest wine you have ever tasted.  Swish the wine all about as it invigorates your palate.  Swallow the liquid nectar and imagine The Trail that it has left behind, the finish of the best wine you have ever tasted.  It lingers on your palate just like a song you hear on the radio and then it is stuck in your head.  You play it over and over, on your palate and in your mind.

That’s right this I’m going to take you on a new virtual wine journey week after week in 2012.  We are going to meet interesting new people from the vast world of wine.  Virtually traveling to new places we have yet to visit, experiencing wine in a way you and I have never imagined.  

Welcome to 2012.  Today I’m going to talk about style, your wine style preference is what I’m referring to.  So far this winter Western Montana has been a little bit strange.  Why you ask, well it has in the high 30’s to low 50’s and the last time I checked it is early January.  As memory serves me it is usually about zeroish this time of year in the Rocky Mountains.  This is more than a little disconcerting, it is just downright unusual.

Did you know that all throughout the decade of the 60’s that grape farmers in Burgundy, France harvested their grapes on average at the end of September?  In the first few years of the millennium that harvest took place in the first week of September.  I don’t begin to know what that means but it is a huge change.  When I think about having Spring in the middle of Winter in the Rocky Mountains and major climate changes in wine country around the world it is one of those circumstances that make me go hmm……………..

Old World, New World, what’s your style?  Let’s take a closer look and see if we can define this.  First of all let’s consider these terms; Old World wine, Old World winemaking, New World wine, and New World winemaking.  What do these terms mean and why are they relevant?

When I think about terminology that best describes Old World vs. New World these are a few thoughts that come to mind.

Old World; Ancient, Europe, tried, apprenticeships, craftsman, details, tradition, experience, patience, aged, practical, these are my thoughts when I think of Old World.

New World; Young, new, melting pot, now, in the moment, technology, science, instant gratification, excess, impatient, brash, learn as I go, these are a few terms that come to mind when I think of New World.

I’m not suggesting that one is better that the other, what I am suggesting is that when it comes to wine, these are styles.  Styles should be considered for the situation, perhaps a style to suite your mood, or your frame of mind.

For me Old World vs. New World could be compared to the difference between those who cook with feel and experience and those who cook with recipes.  Old World draws on centuries of experience thus allowing for intuitive multi-dimensional winemaking.   New World has decades of experience, it may still be developing its formula, striving to become more dimensional.  Experience enables chef’s to create and cook with intuition; the same can be said for winemakers as well.

Winemakers from the Old World are very much in the background.  Current winemakers are a result of many years of understudy and apprenticeship with the winemaker who made wines at that particular Chateau or Estate. Rarely do you know the name of a famous Old World winemaker, but it is common to be aware of a famous Chateau or Estate that produces excellent wine.  This is because European wine laws typically dictate what grapes can be grown, how much of them can be grown, harvested, and dictate how the wines are made.  Wine regions of the Old World have be growing grapes and making wine for centuries.  The New World does not yet have this type of experience to draw from.  The Old World quite literally has this down to a formula and they understand their terroir, or sense of place.

Let’s remember that Old World wine is made by design, it is made to complement foods that are indigenous to that particular region.  These wines are blends of grapes that are smooth and easy to drink and are easily enjoyed with foods they are designed to pair with.  Old World wines exude restraint but express subtle nuances of sense of place, are understated yet complex, these are sophisticated wines that present as simple.

Wine in the New World in the most historic sense may only be a century old.  Cavalier vineyard owners and young winemakers are still discovering new places to grow grapes as they understand terrior.  Historic floods, fossils, seismic activities, and cataclysmic eruptions up and down the west coasts of North and South America are now the home of multitudes of renowned vineyards with serious potential.

If you look closely at the pedigrees of New World winemakers almost all have wine related degrees of Enology or Viticulture from UC Davis or Oregon State.  What does this mean for you and me?  Most new young winemakers have these degrees prior to having the opportunity to utilize their specialties at a wine estate. This is unlike the Old World that is steeped in the tradition of apprenticeship.  New World winemaking comes at wine from a very different direction than Old World in some respects and I believe it is reflected in the wine, not that this is bad, it is just different. 

New World wines are not made as a result of foods indigenous to regions.  These wines are driven by science and now are also by an understanding of the terroir.  Vineyard owners and winemakers understand terroir now in a way the Old World has for centuries.  So how are the wines different, well to start with most New World wines are single varietal wines, although many winemakers that are beginning to blend wines well.  Most New World wine has a much higher percentage of alcohol than Old World wine.  This presents wines that are much bigger, much bolder than their European counterparts.  In general most New World wines are designed to drink and not necessarily made with a food pairing purpose in mind.  That is not to say New World wines do not pair well with food, they are not made to complement food localized to a region.

I find that New World wines have a much sturdier frame or structure, are much more pronounced visually, aromatically, and certainly on the palate.  This is the New World style of wine, is this better, less than, no they really cannot be compared because they are simply different.   As for me it really comes down to what is the circumstance and what kind of mood I’m in.  Do you want wine to enjoy dinner with or do I want to sip on wine to be social, a lot to consider.  New World and Old World alike both produce wonderful wines, but perhaps with a different focus.

2009 “In the Rocks” Syrah from Reynvaan Family Vineyards

This is an example of an Old World style of wine made by Matt Reynvaan who last year was noted as one of the top 30 winemakers under 30 years of age in the world.  Nobody does wine better that Reynvaan Vineyards from Walla Walla in the Columbia Valley AVA.

The 2009 “In The Rocks” is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  Terroir driven wine that is outstanding, you don’t want to miss this.  Check this wine out at Liquid Planet in the heart of Downtown Missoula.

2009 Truchard Vineyards Syrah from Carneros Napa Valley

The 2009 vintage produced fruity wines with intense flavors, great texture, and beautiful balance.  This terrific example of a New World style of wine from the Carneros area in the Napa Valley has aromas of plum, boysenberry, and blackberry; highlighted with vanilla, earth, and white pepper.  On the palate this wine is fills your mouth with rich flavors of cassis and black cherry; followed by mineral and cracked black pepper.  Ripe tannins provide an opulent, long finish of fruit and spice.  This wine is well made and a beautiful wine to drink.

*Both of these wines are upscale wines that represent the Old World vs. New World styles reffered to in today’s blog.  There will be selections of both styles available at  your favorite place to shop for affordable wines too.

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

“Wine Fusion” with Reynvaan Family Vineyards from Walla Walla on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©


Check out the radio show on The Trail 103.3FM and Fresh 104.5FM.  The live stream feed is online at http://www.trail1033.com where you can click on “Listen Live”.  The WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© airs on both radio stations Sunday mornings at 10:00AM MDT.

Each week WineGuyMike™ will be giving away gift certificates from our sponsors.  If your question is selected as WineGuyMike’s™ topic of discussion you will win one of the $20.00 – $25.00 gift certificates.  Good luck and send your questions to WineGuyMike™ on his Facebook fan page.

Social Media links;

Today’s Podcast; http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/08/28/wine-guy-mike-for-august-28-2011/

YouTube; My YouTube channel of course is WineGuyMike™ or the actual URL link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WineGuyMike?feature=mhum

Facebook; WineGuyMike please “like”

Twitter; @WineGuyMike please follow me

Sponsors      

Ciao Mambo, “Eat Like You Mean It”, located in Missoula on The Hip Strip.  Find them online at http://www.CiaoMambo.com

W.J. Deutsch & Sons since 1981 has been marketing quality wines produced by prestigious families from major wine regions of the world. 

Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana.

This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© I’m pleased to introduce you to Reynvaan Family Vineyards and Mike Reynvaan. 

The Reynvaan Family

The Reynvaan Family

You’ll notice in the title of this piece I refer to “Wine Fusion”, and for a good reason that I will be sharing with you.  This week on the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show© my special guest was Mike Reynvaan founder of Reynvaan Family Vineyards.  This winery and vineyards are a small family agricultural business whose mission is to produce quality fine wines and boy have they done that and then some.  In wrapping my head around just what the Reynvaan family has achieved in their quest to produce great wines I just kept thinking about what they have, how they got there, and what does that mean for all of us wine lovers.  And so the story begins with a very engaging conversation with Mike Reynvaan; Podcast http://trail1033.podbean.com/2011/08/28/wine-guy-mike-for-august-28-2011/

The Reynvaan philosophy and path to making world class wine is really through great terrior and viticulture.  The greater Columbia Valley has eleven AVA’s that all produce great wines but the one we are focusing on today is the Walla Walla Valley AVA.  This area is one of the most unique terrior’s in today’s New World of wine. 

The Walla Walla Valley AVA was established in 1984 and grape growing began in the 1850s by Italian immigrants. There are over 100 wineries in this region that have planted vines on over 1,600 acres.  The predominant varietals are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.  Sangiovese also grows very well in Walla Walla which is one reason why the Italians chose this area.  Other varietals  are also becoming more common in the region; Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Grenache, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion, and Viognier.

The soil in this region is the result of layers of alluvial soil from the Lake Missoula floods and volcanic eruptions.  The Missoula Floods were a series of perhaps 35-40 geologic cataclysms that swept across Eastern Washington and down the Columbia Gorge at the end of the last ice age around 12,000 and 15,000 years ago.  These massive floods were a result of ruptures in the glacial ice dam that created Montana’s Glacial Lake Missoula.  The flood level reached 1200 feet at its greatest depth which resulted in layers of soil and deposits from volcanic eruptions.  This left behind a layer of bedrock that facilitates an incredible growing ground for the Reynvaan Family Vineyards grapes.

The Reynvaan Family Vineyards are located near the base of the Blue Mountains which adds one more dynamic layer to the terrior table, Basalt bedrock and boulders. There is a layer of soil known as “Freewater cobbly loam” that sits atop a stratum of 10,000 feet depth of bedrock.  This is one of the largest deposits on earth outside the floor of the world’s oceans.

What does this all have to do with wine?  Once you begin to study wine you realize that the best wines in the world are grown in and on what appear to be the worst of vineyard conditions.  In reality these tough conditions force the grapes to work hard to survive and that is exactly what happens.  The growing grounds around this Blue Mountain area in Walla Walla allow the vines roots to dig in deep seeking nutrients in soil that has great drainage.  This along with the generous sunshine and heat warm the rocky soil which aids in the grapes development.

It is important to understand the geology from this Walla Walla Valley AVA because this is the beginning of a great bottle of wine that expresses concentrated fruit with distinct minerality.  Mike Reynvaan understood this clearly when he purchased land to establish the Reynvaan Family Vineyards.  Viticulture also plays a significant part in producing a great wine.  The Reynvaan’s vineyards are planted in a very dense manner, if fact some of the most crowded conditions in all of Walla Walla.  This along with reducing fruit from the grape clusters forces the grape clusters to grow smaller berries that have tremendous fruit concentration.  This in the hands of a skilled winemaker all translate to great wine.  Welcome to Reynvann Family Vineyards wines, some of the best you will ever taste if you can get your hands on some.  Yes these wines are so good that they sell out every vintage.

It was so hard for me to get my hands on these highly coveted wines this week it reminded me of high school and the pretty girl you always admired from afar and never had a chance to date.  Lucky for WineGuyMike™ his sponsor Georges Distributing in Helena, Montana who supply the Reynvaan Wines made it happen for the WineGuyMike™ Radio Show©.   

When I started this story I mentioned “Wine Fusion.”  This entire Reynvaan story immediately reminded me of the late great Miles Davis, the Godfather of Jazz Fusion.  Different elements coming together that result in amazing music or in this case Reynvaan Wines.  You may wonder about this analogy but stay with me for just a minute.  France and Walla Walla share similar latitudes, Walla Walla may be the new Châteuneuf-du-Pape of the United States, a terrior created by floods and volcanic eruptions, Old World and New World viticulture and winemaking.  Okay you probably get my point of “Wine Fusion,” how about that in your glass with a little Miles Davis. 

Mike Reynvann combined forces with one of the great cult winemakers from France who also settled in Walla Walla, enter Christophe Baron.  Christophe owns Cayuse Vineyards and also produces world class wines.  He has been consulting with Reynvaan Family Vineyards since 2004 when Mike purchased his vineyard land.  Now enter Mike’s son Matt Reynvaan who honed his winemaking skills in France to and now he and Christophe work as a team in producing wines for the Reynvaan label.  Matt was bestowed a very special honor this week by Wine & Spirits magazine.  He was named one of the 30 Under 30 top wine talents in the world, and I’m here to tell you that after drinking his wines, yes he is.  Congratulations Matt!

The Reynvaan Wines are made in a very French Northern Rhone wine like style.  There is a great deal of terrific Old World technique and style involved in crafting these fine artisanal wines.  The Old World countries just have a leg up on the New World because of time and experience in working with wines, especially when it comes to blending varietals.  European wines also tend to be lower in alcohol content and are a product of being made to complement the indigenous foods from the area in which the wines are produced.  In this case Matt Reynvaan has produced a horizontal flight of three Syrah wines that are some of the best in the world from the 2008 vintage.

These three wines are all blended and co-fermented with small amounts of white wine varietals; Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne.  This winemaking technique helps a wine to be a bit more restrained and less aggressive in your glass.  Syrah wines can be bold and spicy but when blended in this Northern Rhone style the wines become refined, elegant, supple, with silken like tannins which is exactly what Matt has accomplished with all three of these beauties from Walla Walla.

All three of these wines have scored 93-95 points in Wine Spectator reviews out of a possible 100 points.  Let’s get to these three wines; The Unnamed Syrah, In The Rocks, and the The Contender all from the 2008 vintage.  I share these wines in the order in which I tasted as Mike Reynvaan led me through the flight of Matt’s masterpieces.  You might wonder how three Syrah wines can all have such distinct personalities but they do. 

A common theme that each of these wines express are beautiful fruit, great on the nose, elegant structure, superb balance, silky tannin, perfect acidity, a finish that leaves you longing for more, and a mouthfeel that leaves a beautiful mid-palate impression.  These are red wines that are extremely approachable even in the summer.  The French style in which the wines are made lend themselves to a style that is a bit lighter in body, not too heavy and meaty like some of their counterparts that are a straight up Syrah varietal produced wine.  Not that that is a bad thing but perhaps a bit much in the middle of summer.  The other important thing to note is the style and balance of these three Syrah’s in which they are made make them perfect food companions.  I would recommend pairing these wines with Veal, Pork, and Lamb chops.  A great prime Sirloin steak, Leg of Lamb, or any Wild Game Meat will also do nicely with Matt Reynvaan’s wines.

The Unnamed Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $40

Rating: */** (Excellent/Exceptional) The Unnamed Syrah is loaded with aromas of peach, tangerine, wild blackberry, smoke and hints of lavender and a trace of caramel.  This elegant wine is created to be enjoyed in its youth but will evolve over the next 7-8 years.  90% Syrah co-fermented with 10% Viognier.  13.8% alcohol.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 95pts.

In The Rocks Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $45

Rating: ** (Exceptional) The In The Rocks is packed with dark fruit aromatics, smoked meats, crushed gravel, and white pepper.  It is very animalistic with hints of sweet creme brulee and will benefit from 5 years of cellaring if you are able to resist the temptation to drink it.  2% Syrah co-fermented with 6.5% Viognier and 1.5% Marsanne. 13.2% alcohol.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 93 pts. 

The Contender Syrah Walla Walla Valley 2008 $55

Rating: ** (Exceptional) The Contender has amazing aromatics that are bursting with Marshmallow, white flower, crushed rocks, wild mushrooms, Asian spices and crushed raspberry.  The minerality of this wine is so powerful with the balance of aromatics that will make it hard to take your nose away from the glass. The finish goes on and on.  94% Syrah co-fermented with 4% Marsanne and 2% Viognier.  Approximately 450 cases produced.  WS 95 pts.

Seattle Metropolitan Magazine just released their list of 100 Best Washington Wines, the 2008 The Contender was #2, 2008 The Unnamed Syrah #6, Cayuse, Cailloux #1, Quilceda Creek #3.

Stay tuned because this is just the beginning of what is happening in the New World of wine.  With great young winemakers like Matt Reynvann Oregon and Washington wines have only just gotten started, the potential is scary and I can’t wait to share those wine stories with you.  For now I wish that your glass may be full of wine from the Reynvaan Family Vineyards in Walla Walla, Washington.

A special thank you to the Mike, Gale, Matt, Amanda, and Angela Reynvaan for all that you do to produce some of the best wine there is, cheers to all of you.

This flight of wine all receive the WineGuyMike™ Seal of Approval® as for Matt I dub him the “New World Grape Slayer.”

"from my table to yours"

"from my table to yours"

WineGuyMike™